I just wanted to point out the irony of my current situation: Cixous is championing the woman’s body, and I have one hand on the keyboard, typing out an agreement like “yeah, women’s bodies and freedom!”, but the other hand is clutching at my uterus, while I curse the fact that I was born a woman, like I do every month. lol.
I thought it was interesting that Cixous ties writing and creativity to a woman’s body, specifically to her sexuality. She says that just as women are made to feel guilty about masturbation, and so they do it in secret, so too do women guiltily write in secret. We can apply this claim to Walker’s text, “In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens…”, because slaves were also neither in control of their bodies nor able to fully express their creativity. Because the slave women spent all day working in the fields (working for their masters and not for themselves, meaning they were not in full control of their bodies as methods of production), they never had time to “sit down, undisturbed, to unravel her own private thoughts” (Walker 238).
Yet Walker asserts that despite this, the creative spirit was still transmitted, through their offspring. Her own mother, who had no way to record her own creative spark, transmitted her stories to Walker herself. Walker “absorbed not only the stories themselves, but something of the manner in which she spoke….so much of what I have written is about characters whose counterparts in real life are so much older than I am” (Walker 240). Similarly, Walker’s example of her mother working in the garden shows that there does not need to be a tangible, clear method of recording like writing in order to be an artist. Simply “ordering the universe in the image of her personal conception of Beauty” is sufficient (Walker 241).
This is perhaps contrary to what Cixous is suggesting, which is a new history, written by women, in order to overthrow the current male-dominated paradigm. Cixous’s urgent calls to action suggest that what Walker mentions may not be enough; simply being an artist in daily life would not be enough to transmit the women’s movement. Walker, however, would say that there does not need to be a tangible, physical record for transmission, because the subsequent generations would absorb the stories and mannerisms of the previous mothers and generations.